Chicken Little came out in 2005. It wasn’t a high point for Disney.
This is the story of Chicken Little, a very small chicken in a town populated by various anthropomorphized animals. A piece of sky falls on his head, so he rings the town bell to warn everyone. The citizens panic. They panic a lot. It’s… dumb.
When he tries to show everyone the sky piece, it’s gone. His dad decides that it was in fact an acorn and apologizes to everyone. Chicken Little is crushed by his dad’s lack of faith in him and vows to make his dad proud, somehow.
A year passes, but Chicken Little’s infamy hasn’t died down. There is apparently a movie being made about the incident. Why? Who knows.
His father drives him to his school bus stop. (Why not just drive him to school? Again, who knows.) He misses the bus. (Who’s surprised?) He runs to school, but on the way we’re introduced to the strange physics of this world. Things are very sticky. Very, very sticky. Chicken Little looses his pants to a used piece of gum in the crosswalk.
Yes. Yes, that is what I said. He looses his pants. To a piece of gum.
In his underwear, he hustles to school, uses a shaken bottle of orange pop to rocket up to the gym window, where he flashes the cheerleading squad, and then folds himself origami pants out of his homework. The pants later dissolve because he accidentally pulls the fire alarm and turns on the sprinklers.
Still desperate for approval from a father who has no faith in him, Chicken Little joins the baseball team. His friends, Runt of the Litter (a huge pig) Abby Mallard (an ugly duckling), and Fish out of Water (a fish with a water-filled helmet and my favorite part of the movie) do what they can to support him. Abby thinks that he’s cute and wonderful and thinks that just talking to his dad would solve all of their problems.
His father tells him not to get his hopes up while his friends help with his training montage. His friends cheer for him as his fathers looks vaguely embarrassed by his existence. He warms the bench.
He goes to bat once in the final game of the season, gets a surprise hit that turns into a in-field home run, and wins the game. His father is proud of him for once. They have a moment, but they still don’t discuss their problems.
Then another piece of the sky falls on his head. Turns out that it’s actually a piece of an alien cloaking device. He calls his friends, who are hanging out and doing karaoke. They troop over to his place. Abby thinks he should tell his dad. Chicken Little wants to avoid telling anyone else, ever.
Fish pushes a button and gets carried away on the alien technology. The others give chase and end up finding a space ship. Inside, Chicken Little exchanges winks with a three-eyed paintbrush. They snag Fish and start to flee just as the aliens come back. They chase the kids. The little paintbrush follows everyone.
Chicken Little ends up ringing the bell again. The aliens flee in pain from the sound, leaving the paintbrush behind, and the town panics. No one believes Chicken Little and his friends about the aliens.
Now, it was very obvious to me that the paintbrush was the aliens’ baby, and they thought that Chicken Little and his friends were kidnapping it. The aliens call in reinforcements to find their kid, who Chicken Little found and is taking care of.
The aliens attack. They vaporize people left and right, but they can’t find the kid. Chicken Little’s dad wants to run away, but Chicken Little realizes that he has to get the kid back to its parents. They discuss their emotional problems and they are all miraculously fixed. Chicken Little kisses Abby, who spends the rest of the movie in a giddy haze.
It turns out that the aliens aren’t vaporizing people. They are transporting them back to their ships. Chicken Little gives the paintbrush back and the aliens apologize. They are grateful that they got their kid back before they destroyed the planet because it’s apparently the best place to stop for acorns.
The movie ends with all of the characters watching a big-budget film based on the alien invasion.
The voice acting is good and the production values are solid. Abby is unflinchingly ugly, Runt is fat, and neither is ever set forth as a character flaw. Fish is adorably optimistic and enthusiastic about everything around him. But the movie isn’t good. The emotional crux of the movie is supposed to be Chicken Little’s relationship with his dad, but it just doesn’t work. The plot is chaotic, clichéd, and predictable. It wasn’t painful to watch, but it didn’t feel like Disney.